Sunday, March 16, 2008

Known Issues

Fuckity. After all that work it turned out that there was a major malfunction in our broadcast signal. We broadcast in mono, which is supposed to be a combination of the stereo signal from the CD, record etc. For three years this was the case and all was well.

But the new console was acting strangely and only sending the 'left' channel to the airwaves- in other words, if you are playing a stereo recording of two guitarists- one in the left speaker and the other in the right- the listener would only hear one of the players... in a stereo record of a piano solo, the listener only hears the left hand, the right hand is very faint...there are a lot of technical and musical reasons why this is a major problem.
To me, anyway.
It didn't seem like a big deal to most of the people I talked to, but for the kind of records I play it's a show-killer. Try listening to a two- guitar band like Television, Soft Boys, Quicksilver, the Clash or XTC with one of the guitars barely sucks.

The station email that went out pretty much said: " yeah, we know it's a problem and we are gonna order a new part and devise a plan to install that part", which sounds like a good idea except that our little station tends to do things by forming committees, having meetings, using the Dry Erase board etc; this is a good way for accomplishing some goals, but not , in my opinion, the best approach for dealing with critical issues effecting our actual live, real-time signal.

So I listened to my buddy Buzzy's show yesterday (he plays a lot of cool old 60's guitar rock that I dig) and I kept wondering "where are the guitar solos? " , "isn't there a second vocal on this song?" etc was hard to listen to. We have been bragging about our new studio and it doesn't even work right...fuck.

I know how to operate gear. I can coax great audio out of bad crap and I'm a master of unorthodox 'work-arounds', but I'm no electrician. Our new console requires electrical skills to change the internal settings (there are no knobs and such as are found on a recording console) , so we would have to wait until we got the part and then find time for one of our skilled volunteers to wire the thing into the circuit...who knows how long that could take? The email indicated that we might have to temporarily broadcast from the old studio...WTF?
I have two shows in the next two days and I want the music to sound right...crap.


I thought about it for a while and then did a simple test at home using my own gear...aha I thought, I can fix our problem in ten minutes...probably need to visit Radio Shack first.
Other than the Shack trip, my plan was pretty damn easy: a stereo-to-mono conversion is a simple matter and we were relying on a hugely expensive and complicated electronic device to do it when a four-dollar gee-gaw could serve the same function, only better...duh.

So this morning when I got to the station I brought a couple of widgets with me so that I could test my theory, Radio Shack being closed at 7am and all...I was right. My idea worked. I found a few more widgets at the station and corrected about half of the equipment before I ran out of parts.
I did this during my show. Between songs. I had a LOT of coffee.

Before long, the coffee wanted to leave my body... I put on a lengthy song and skipped to the loo...fuck. Fuck. Fuck!
Something in here smells really, really baaaaad.
When I lifted the toilet lid, I saw that the bowl was full of shit. Judging from the toxic, choking fumes, I think it had started to ferment. Oh man...yuk.

As soon as the next DJ arrived, I found a plunger under the sink , gritted my teeth and cleared the mess out of the bowl . No fun.
A few minutes later, I saw a note left by yesterday's DJ- from 3PM! He noted that someone had left "poop" in the toilet and that he would try to fix it if he could find a plunger. Apparently he couldn't find it since that shit was still there. According to the note, the fecal cauldron had been stewing since at least yesterday afternoon...ugh. ugh. ugh.

The plunger was in plain sight under the sink but some devious motherfucker had built a cabinet around the plunger, after which they installed doors on the cabinet and shut them, making the plunger impossible to access.
Unless, that is, you understand cabinets and how to open them. As I said, I know how to operate gear, including hinges, doors and plungers...after I was done with opening the door and clearing the drain, I got to thinking about how many adults must have seen that mess of shit and walked away, thinking " someone else will do this"- I mean, the station is a busy place and that stuff had been there since yesterday- somebody had to pee at some point...did they not see the corn on the re-cob?

Anyway... after that, I drove to Radio Shack and bought parts. During my first trip, I was so agitated that I purchased the wrong items and had to return to the Shack and swap them out...this took longer than the ten minutes I had anticipated, but in the end it all worked just like I thought it would. No more missing guitars, no more dropped high notes...much better now!

I was composing an mail when my friend Liz dropped by the office to do pick something up...I'm not sure she understood much of what I said, but she could tell that I was pretty excited that my improvised repair worked out, so she bought me a cup of coffee, nodded a few times and smiled, which was nice. She also offered me a muffin, but my unexpected morning toilette had put me off of my appetite.

Tomorrow night I'll be guest-hosting my friend Will's show, which is a bit twangy and always good fun. It'll be a switch from what I usually play- and a switch from what Will plays as well.
I've got a few choice musical morsels to share and the listener will hear BOTH guitarists, boy howdy!
7PM - 9PM Eastern, if you wanna interlisten.

Now for some rest. Ah.


schlep said...

You are the Michael Clayton of WRIR.
Looking forward to the rockabilly madness!

yellowdog granny said...

well, how about that...your a fecking genius....and im proud to know ya...

more cowbell said...

what the hell is wrong with people? where is the common decency? and who laid that shit in there in the first place, and why didn't they get the plunger? What would Miss Manners have to say about this? This country is going to hell, but not in a toilet, on account of it's backed up.

beth said...

Eversince the equipment upgrade, I can no longer get WRIR in my Church Hill home. Is this related or a very unfortunate coincidence. It's a giant bummer; I used to listen as I did my morning chores on Sunday.

whimsicalnbrainpan said...

I hope they know how lucky they are to have you.

I'm so sorry you have to work with a bunch of morons (though Liz sounds nice).

Allan said...

Schlep- Rockabilly?

JS- Gosh.

MC- In a handbasket.

Beth- It shouldn't have changed the transmitter- when did this start?

Whim- I don't know what who thinks. Most are cool, it's the bad apples that shit and run...

beth said...

I haven't been able to get in WRIR since the January, I believe.

Allan said...

Nothing changed on our end in January, there are a million things that could be wrong...just call me.

angel said...

plumber-electrician-muso-dj-stand-in supreme!
go allan go!!!